By Rachel M. Anderson
Five years ago, Judy Erdahl of Deephaven got some bad news. The breast cancer she thought she had beaten in 2006 was back with a vengeance.
“I was under the impression that since it wasn’t in my lymph nodes at that point and I was only Stage 1 and had done chemo and had a mastectomy, I was going to be free and clear,” she said. Unfortunately, instead she became one of the 30 percent of breast cancer patients whose cancer metastasizes or spreads to other parts of the body. In Erdahl’s case, the breast cancer cells had made their way to her bones.
These days, she is on a steady cancer treatment regimen that keeps her alive. Metastatic Breast Cancer is treatable but there is no cure. Treatment is lifelong and focuses on preventing the spread of the disease and managing symptoms. Although statistics are not collected, it is estimated that more than 155,000 men and women in the U.S. are living with the disease.
“I go three weeks on, one week off with chemotherapy,” said Erdahl. “It’s up and down and I have kind of learned to live my life in cycles. I know I will be sick on Thursday. Not feeling great Friday and Saturday. Totally on the couch on Sunday, and then I’ll start to feel better on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then go back to have more chemo on Thursday and start the cycle again.”
Erdahl says she will have to follow this regimen for the rest of her life.
After learning of her new diagnosis five years ago, some of Erdahl’s friends decided to try and do something about it and formed Team Judy. Their goal, to raise money in Judy’s name to fund research grants for metastatic breast cancer and cancer metastases.
Since 2011, the group has raised about $83,000 with 100 percent of the funds going to researchers at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Their goal is to pass the $100,000 mark this year, and it’s almost time for the biggest fundraiser of the year: The Team Judy Wine Night.
This year’s event will be held at the home of Kate Bryant of Deephaven the evening of Thursday, July 21, beginning at 7 p.m.
“We make it easy. There are no tickets to buy and no silent auctions to bid on. We just ask people to bring a check in any amount they wish to contribute, and they’ll get to enjoy wine and appetizers and some good comeraderie.
Plus, a couple of the researchers from the Masonic Cancer Center, which we are supporting, will be there to talk about the research projects they are working on and answer questions,” said Erdahl.
The party is open to the public but R.S.V.P.’s are requested. Send an email to [email protected] if you would like to attend. Those unable to attend who still wish to contribute to the cause can make a donation online via Team Judy’s Crowdfunding page. The web address is here.
The next fundraising event for Team Judy will be on Oct. 6 when a portion of the ticket sales from the Old Log Theater production of Million Dollar Quartet will be donated to the cause.
Founded in 1991, the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota became a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center in 1998.
It is one of only 45 institutions in the United States that hold that designation. The NCI awards this highest-level designation only to institutions that make ongoing, significant advances in cancer research, treatment, and education.